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How Do I Choose the Best Rice Noodles?

Rice noodles are a staple in Asian cuisine. They are made from rice that is ground, then mixed with water and steamed before shaping. Knowing which rice noodles to choose can be tricky, but there are a few simple things to keep in mind when shopping, and you should have no trouble. Some things to consider when choosing rice noodles are the shape of the noodles, the quality of the noodles and whether you prefer fresh noodles or pre-packaged noodles.

The most important consideration is the shape of noodle that you need for the dish you are preparing. For example, you might need thin, spaghetti-like noodles or flat, wide noodles. Some dishes will turn out better if you use a specific type of noodle, but many recipes will not specify which shape is best. If that is the case, choose the shape that you like the most. Noodles usually are packaged in clear wrapping, so you can easily see what they look like before you buy them.

Make sure to choose rice noodles. It is easy to confuse rice noodles and mung-bean noodles — also called glass noodles or cellophane noodles — because they look nearly identical, especially if you shop at an Asian market. Double-check the ingredient list on the package to be certain that you have the correct product. Mung-bean noodles not only taste different, the preparation also is different, and your dish might not work if you use the wrong noodle.

When deciding which brand to purchase, products made in Asia are likely to be the most authentic in taste. When possible, select these. Check for expiration dates, and choose packages that have clear wrapping, so you can be sure that the noodles are in good condition. Avoid rice noodles that have broken strands or seem to be uneven in thickness or texture. They won’t cook evenly, resulting in portions of the noodle being either overcooked or undercooked.

The tastiest option is always fresh noodles. Many Asian markets have freshly made rice noodles in a variety of shapes in the refrigerated section. Like fresh pasta, these noodles cost a bit more, but many people consider them to be worth the price.

Be aware that preparing fresh rice noodles is different from cooking dried noodles. Most recipes call for the noodles to be cooked before using them, unless you are preparing soup. Fresh noodles cook in a much shorter time than dried noodles.

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Source: Wisegeek

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